Reel American HistoryHistory on trial Main Page

AboutFilmsFor StudentsFor TeachersBibliographyResources

Films >> Insider, The (1999) >>

Warning: Exposing the Truth May Be Hazardous.

View the trailer

Based on Marie Brenner's article in Vanity Fair (May 1996), "The Man Who Knew Too Much," this story centers around the hush-hush world of the Big Tobacco industry and how in 1994 Dr. Jeffrey Wigand almost single-handedly destroyed it. Fired for voicing complaints to his employers, Wigand reluctantly agrees to be interviewed by 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace about some of his ex-company's dirty secrets, most importantly that the company knew that cigarettes were harmful and addictive. As a result, Wigand's life is turned upside down by threats and harassment. The matter gets even more complicated when CBS decides not to air portions of the interview, for fear of harming an impending business deal. Now it is up to 60 Minutes mastermind Lowell Bergman to right this wrong and save both the integrity of his show and Wigand's reputation. Wigand and Bergman form an unlikely alliance in the complicated struggle to uphold the value of truth against the underlying evils of corporate America.